Sketch: Coming Down

Sun coming up, clear and cold, illuminating the breath. Not waking; haven’t been to bed. House full of snoring friends. Sipping Cuervo from an almost empty bottle. Light down through the ridges, shaped into sawteeth by the treeline, shines through the fog rising from the orchard, the trees just barely green with new leaves. Cars parked haphazardly along the dirt road. A pickup on the front lawn, tire gouges in the wet turf. No other houses in sight, but a few columns of chimney smoke. Crows in the trees, still, one now and then hopping from an upper to lower branch.

Kelso must have really been wasted; he left his acoustic propped against a table covered with empties. It’s an effort to move, but pick it up by the neck. Heavy, it’s a substantial guitar. Try to remember a chord; all you can think of are A, D, and E–not very satisfying at this hour. Then you see chord boxes in your mind’s eye for A and E minor, strumming quietly, alternating between the two. Dylan’s “Senor” coming and going.

Sunday? Sunday. They will wake slowly, stumble into the kitchen, where the coffee’s brewing. A few will probably have to be roused. Then breakfast for those who can eat. Leave taking in the afternoon: hugs, smiles, a few tears. Then the last taillights bumping down the road and out of sight past the bend.

Finally, it’s just you and her, and the dirty dishes and pets wanting fed. Break out the vinyl, familiar cracks and hisses, and put on something you’ve heard so many times that you know the bass parts. Arms up to elbows in soapy water, your reflection in the window: a little less hair, a few more lines. In the background, the door to the office: stories, plays, poems impatiently waiting to be written.

Well. That’s hours away. Now, it’s just you and the sleepers, and the guitar, and the mistletoe in the oaks, and the spider webs lit with dew, and a squirrel running, stopping, then running furiously to disappear in tall grass.

Look up, and the red tail glides past a big cedar and vanishes into fog.